Getting Energy From Hydrogen


Hydrogen and Oxygen

  • Hydrogen and Oxygen react to produce Water- not a pollutant
  • The reaction is exothermic --> energy is released
  • In a combustion engine or in a fuel cell
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Combustion Engines

  • Hydrogen gas can be burnt in oxygen as a fuel in the combustion engines of vehicles

hydrogen + oxygen --> water

-only form water
-very clean

-a special, expenisve engine is required
-you still need to use energy from another source to make the hydrogen
-hydrogen is very hard to store safely (explosive)

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Fuel Cells

A fuel cell is an electrical cell that's supplied with a fuel and oxygen and uses energy from the reaction between them to generate electricity 

  • Hydrogen can be used in a hydrogen-oxygen fuel cell
  • More practical than solar cells and safer than nuclear power (developed in the 1960's as part of the space programme to provide electrical power on spacecraft)
  • Doesn't run down or need recharging from the mains
  • It produces energy in the form of electricity and heat as long as fuel is supplied
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The Car Industry is Developing Fuel Cells

  • The car industry is developing fuel cells to replace conventional petrol/diesel engines
  • Do not produce greenhouse gases, no nitrogen, no oxides, no sulfur dioxide and no carbon monoxide 
  • The only by-products are water and heat
  • Could eventually help countries to become less dependent on crude oil

-takes up more space to store than liquid fuels like petrol
-it is very difficult to store safely- very explosive
-the hydrogen fuel is often made either from hydrocarbons (fossil fuels) or by electrolysis of water (uses electricity)

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